Wellforce health system is changing its name to Tufts Medicine.

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What’s happening?

Wellforce health system is changing its name to Tufts Medicine. The health system includes Circle Health/Lowell General Hospital, MelroseWakefield Healthcare, Tufts Medical Center, Home Health Foundation and more than 2,000 physicians in a clinically integrated network.

Why is the system name changing?

Our system was founded on being a different kind of health system – one that delivers a high quality, completely connected care experience for our communities and patients as close to home as possible. Yet without one shared and recognizable system name, consumers, patients and referring physicians don’t realize that we are all connected. By using our local entity names combined with one system name, our communities will know that every day 15,000 talented physicians and nurses, scientists, employees and educators are working in unison to improve their lives through advanced and innovative ways to improve their health.

Why was Tufts Medicine chosen as the system’s new name?

Wellforce recently engaged in a strategic planning process to set the direction for the future of our system and call out the ways in which our services and approach to healthcare are unique in this market. As part of that process, we agreed that we needed to become a more integrated health system to best serve our communities and patients. To achieve our goals, we need a public-facing name that connects all of us in the eyes of the consumer. A shared name makes it clear to the world that we are working together to make healthcare better.

We conducted extensive consumer research to understand what name would help us reach our goals, quickly and with the greatest impact. Consumers and physicians across eastern Massachusetts told us that “Tufts” was a name they knew and greatly respected. More than 75 percent told us they would be more likely to use physician, hospital and other health services that were associated with the Tufts name. The name also was very popular with people who had not yet received care from us, signifying an opportunity for growth.

In addition, the name highlights our strong relationship with Tufts University and its School of Medicine. There are significant opportunities to expand the impact of our research and teaching missions to improve the health and the lives of the individuals and diverse communities we serve throughout New England.

What will happen to the name Wellforce?

Beginning March 1, 2022, we will begin to phase-out the Wellforce name. We used Wellforce while we were doing the behind the scenes work to create our health system, but it isn’t a name that consumers know or understand well. It would take a lot of time and resources to educate consumers about Wellforce, but Tufts is a name the public understands and respects immediately. It will take some time to change all current references to Wellforce, so you may still see it for a while. We will be working toward a full replacement over the coming months.

Will the local hospitals and services keep their names?

Yes. Our local hospitals are highly respected and are a great point of pride for our communities. Our hospitals will maintain their names and continue to use them proudly. The local name and the Tufts Medicine name will appear in a logo together so consumers, patients, potential employees and others know that they have the best of all worlds — local care they know and trust, as well as seamless access to the most advanced care when they need a level of care only available at an academic medical center. These are the logos we will start using in mid-April.

Tufts Medicine family of logos

What about Home Health Foundation?

Home Health Foundation will be changing its name to best reflect the wide range of services it offers from home health and hospice care to hospital at home services and more. Its new name will be Tufts Medicine Care at Home.

What about the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network?

Our network of more than 2,000 physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and research physicians will now be called Tufts Medicine Integrated Network. This network includes physicians and care teams in private practice in the community as well as those employed by our health system. Together they are working to improve the quality, affordability and equity of care throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

What happens to the Circle Health name?

Circle Health has been a name used since 2012 to communicate that Lowell General Hospital, the former Saints Medical Center and their medical staffs were working together to improve the health of their community. Much like what we are now doing with Tufts Medicine, the Circle Health name signaled to patients that all their care would be connected. Now that we are able to share broadly that all of Lowell General Hospital and physician services are connected to each other and to additional services throughout Eastern Massachusetts, Circle Health’s leadership has decided to transition from using the Circle Health name and is developing a plan for a gradual renaming for its Circle Health branded facilities, practices, services, and programs. The team feels it would be confusing for the consumer to try to understand that Lowell General is part of Circle Health and then Circle Health is part of Tufts Medicine. The key principles behind the creation of Circle Health have all been carefully folded into the creation of the Tufts Medicine name and the design of our materials.

What about MelroseWakefield Healthcare?

MelroseWakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford will keep their names in combination with Tufts Medicine. We will focus on the system plus hospital names and will phase out MelroseWakefield Healthcare.

What is the timing for this?

On March 1, 2022, we began the process of replacing the Wellforce name and logo with the Tufts Medicine name and logo. Some things will change quickly while others will take more time.

On April 11, 2022, we will make logo changes at all our member entities. At that time, all members will be provided new electronic letterhead, PowerPoint templates and other tools to start using the system and local names together to reinforce we are working in unison to provide the highest quality, most coordinated care possible. The transition will be gradual; we will use the current supplies members have in inventory of printed materials, so we do not incur unnecessary expense. Some things will change in a few weeks where some things like signage could take more than a year.

Does Tufts Medical Center hold more weight in the system now that its name is more closely connected to the new system name?

No. We formed as a system of equals — an organization that brings together the best of community and academic medicine. Our commitment to being a system of equals remains as strong as ever. As our academic center, Tufts Medical Center plays an important role in our system, and it does so as an equal member with our community hospitals, physicians and broader health services including care at home. The Tufts Medicine name reflects our close relationship with Tufts University and Tufts University School of Medicine. There are many opportunities to expand teaching and research into the community.

Is the leadership of the system changing — do people from Tufts Medical Center or Tufts University have increased responsibility/ownership?

No. Our leadership remains the same. Michael Dandorph who has been President and CEO of Wellforce is now the President and CEO of Tufts Medicine. The teams at Wellforce remain the same today as they were yesterday. The university remains a separate organization with a separate president and board. The university does not own the health system or Tufts Medical Center.

However, collaboration between our organizations is very strong and getting even stronger. The university and the health system recently created a shared position to help align and expand our work together in ways to have an even bigger impact. The position is Dean of Tufts University School of Medicine and Chief Academic Officer for Tufts Medicine (formerly Wellforce).

Why is the name change happening now?

We will implement our new Epic electronic health record on April 2, 2022. Epic will digitally connect our caregivers and patients like never before. Patients will have access to all their health information through one mobile app and there will be one bill for all their services across all our entities. It is important that everyone hears about our new system name before they start receiving information like a bill or appointment confirmation with the Tufts Medicine logo. That is the primary reason we are announcing the new system name at this time.

What does this rebrand mean for patients?

Patients will now be able to more easily see how all our organizations are connected. They can better understand that care teams in the community, at the academic center and in their homes are all part of one team. The people and organizations they know and trust remain committed to them. In addition, it will be clearer that their local organization is part of a broader network of services and care teams across Eastern Mass and beyond. These services and teams are connected and available to help them with all their care needs – from preventive care to primary care and critical care to hospice care.

What does this rebrand mean for doctors, nurses, and staff?

All our team members will continue to do what they do best – care for our patients and communities. Soon, the team will start to see new logos around their organizations and may get questions about what it all means from their patients, families and friends. Everyone should feel empowered to share with their networks that Tufts Medicine is the name of the system that brings us all together to provide exceptional and connected care for them.

What does this rebrand mean for the system’s member hospitals? Are they merging with Tufts Medical Center?

No. Our hospitals Lowell General Hospital, MelroseWakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Tufts Medical Center along with Home Health Foundation and our clinically integrated physician network are member entities of Tufts Medicine. The day-to-day operations at the entities will not change with this announcement. The same leaders remain and the same great care. Local hospitals within the Tufts Medicine system will continue to operate under their respective names in conjunction with the Tufts Medicine name.

What does this rebrand mean for medical educators and researchers?

Naming our system Tufts Medicine highlights our close relationship with Tufts University and the importance of clinical care, teaching and research in our system. Working with Tufts University we hope to expand the impact of our research and teaching missions throughout our system, while creating new opportunities for learning, collaboration and growth of these important programs.

Why is the new name being announced now if it doesn’t go into effect until April?

We recognize that it is important to give our clinicians, administrators, partners and patients adequate time to prepare for this change. With a health system of our size across multiple locations, these changes do not happen overnight. We chose April because our system will roll out a new Epic electronic health record system to all existing patients on April 2, 2022 under the name of Tufts Medicine and we want to be sure everyone understands this change.

Does Wellforce need to go through any regulatory process to make the rebrand official?

While there is a legal process to officially change our name, there are no regulatory requirements for the rebrand.

Will contact information for care teams change with the rebrand?

No. The rebrand will not impact how consumers and patients reach their care teams. The Epic launch will provide consumers, patients and referring physicians with new, faster and easier ways to message their care teams, see health record information, schedule appointments and more. You’ll be hearing more about the myTuftsMed mobile app and patient portal soon.

Will direct care change because of the rebrand?

No. We will continue to deliver high quality, affordable, accessible and culturally competent healthcare to the individuals and communities who rely on us. As we move forward, a consumer-facing system name will help everyone better understand that all our services are connected and that 15,000 people are working together daily to help make patients and our communities healthier.

Will healthcare costs (such as co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses) increase as a result of the rebrand?

No, the rebrand will not affect healthcare costs.

Does this decision have anything to do with the closure of inpatient beds at Tufts Children’s Hospital?

No. Pediatrics remains an important part of the care we deliver throughout the system. Pediatric services are part of Tufts Medicine just like cardiology, primary care, neurology, home care, hospice and many, many other services. As previously announced, the Tufts Children’s Hospital name will no longer be used after the inpatient beds are closed on July 1, 2022.

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